Three babies born to mothers in prison in 2016
A total of three babies were born to mothers in prison custody in 2016 - equalling the highest annual number in recent years.
The trend of last year has continued with one baby being born to a mother in custody so far in 2017.
According to figures provided by Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, the three births last year follow no births to mothers in custody in 2015 with three in 2014 and two in 2013.
In figures provided to Clare Daly TD in a written Dáil reply, Mrs Fitzgerald confirmed 14 babies have been born to mothers in custody between 2010 and the first quarter of this year.
In her reply, the minister said: "I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the level of maternity care provided to women in custody, including ante-natal care, is comparable to that available to women in the community. It is provided on a shared care arrangement between the maternity hospital to which the patient is referred, and the healthcare team in the Dóchas Centre."
The Irish Prison Service has in place a mother and baby unit in the Dóchas Centre.
"Provision is made in the Dóchas Centre to facilitate new mothers keeping their infants with them so as not to disrupt early bonding," said Mrs Fitzgerald.